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By Jeff Benjamin

A Column appearing every two months informing people about the POSITIVE things which are going on in the Staten Island running community.

April 4, 2002 - In 1983, John Agnello had seemingly seemed like a shoe-in to win the Triple Crown in Island Road racing. Having placed high in the Stapleton Steeplechase (remember that race?) and the SI Advance 5-mile Memorial day run (Not a typo, it was 5- miles!!), all Agnello had to do was run a respectable Pepper Martin race on July 4th.

By the 4-mile mark, however, he was in trouble. Maybe it was the heat (90 degrees easily, as I recall), or his feet, but Agnello disgustedly took off his shoes from his blistered feet and looked to drop out of race. But one runner wouldn't let him. Running a great race himself, Marty McGowan slowed down and screamed at Agnello to continue, and Agnello made it to the finish line, running the last mile barefoot and clinching his Triple Crown victory. McGowan would run a time of 26:21 for the 5-mile course, finishing around 25th place, in the quality days of Island road racing.

Marty McGowan has always been one person who, through his racing, dedication, and later his volunteerism has helped runners and given back to the sport on Staten Island. I remember as a High School Runner seeing Marty help out at track meets. He is now seen volunteering at the various road races, becoming one of the many good runners who have never left the sport, still always wanting to be a part of it. When the Forest Avenue Mile was created, it was Marty who helped get Staten Island Community TV to televise the event, performing as one of the commentators of the race in the beginning.

So, here's to you, Marty!! That quality which you have of looking to help people has carried you a long way, and you're getting credit where credit is due!! (Except from John Agnello's feet).